Monday, December 21, 2020

The Sacrilege Of Syncretism: Why We Cannot Confuse The Kingdom With The Empire

I’m writing about something that I never dreamed would be an issue with which American Evangelicals would wrestle: should we or should we not promote or even join an insurrection if President Trump does not stay in office? Should we perhaps even join a movement for conservative states to secede from the United States, even if the cost is a violent uprising that could turn into a modern Civil War?

 Lest you think I am exaggerating about this being a viable option right now, allow me to point toward a few conservative politicians and prominent evangelical leaders whose voices represent millions[1] before I move on to some pastoral observations.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

A Brief History Of Christmas

The history of Christmas fascinates me: how it started, why we celebrate the way we do, what all the symbols mean, and what we can learn from church history about what Christians should celebrate and what we should be cautious about. So, for better or worse, here we go. 

Keep in mind that there is a LOT of competing information out there about the history of Christmas. I have worked to find the truth, but my presentation is only as good as my sources, which I hope were reliable. 

Monday, November 30, 2020

COVID-19: My Little Library Of Statistics And Analysis

For months now, I have been slowly building a document of COVID-19 resources when I run across things that catch my eye: a post on social media that I wanted to check;  an intriguing news story floating through my Flipboard feed; friends who work in the medical field post heart-breaking updates on their work in hospitals, only to be dismissed as if they must be lying. Sometimes I read articles (rightly) criticizing the inconsistency of public health organizations over time, or the words vs. the actions of politicians who said one thing and did another. Sometimes I simply wanted to know more about how to first re-open and then keep open our church in a way that offers a reasonably safe and accommodating space.

Whatever the reason, I built this document over time. It represents a pursuit of knowledge; I am well aware it's not the end of it! And as serious as I believe the coronavirus to be (as you will see), I’m not curled up in a ball quivering in fear, as anyone who knows me can attest. I assume I will get it at some point (as most of us will); I assume I will be like most people in my demographic, and when I do get it, it will be somewhere on a spectrum short of fatal, and likely relatively mild, though it's definitely unpredictable. [1] So that’s not why I compile stuff like this. I just want to know what’s true about the world. 


Oh, and one other note. 


I am interested in the stats and the science for the purposes of this post, so I don' have anything about politics or freedoms or the constitution here. Those are important topics for a different time. They just aren't my focus here. You can write that one :)


At to the science, it has obviously and publicly evolved over time around the entire world. It’s frustrating, and it can understandably make us leery of trusting authoritative voices, but it’s how science works. It's not a sign of a nefarious plot. I am far more confident in the science now than I was six months ago, for sure. I’m also sure three months from now doctors and epidemiologists will know even more, and will have pivoted yet again in some way.  


With that in mind, if you want to add to the discussion by agreeing or disagreeing - and I would like you to add to this, because I want to pursue truth as I build this database -  post links and offer thoughtful insights from your research and experience. I don’t mind being thoughtfully challenged. I’m not a big fan of being called stupid or deceived or ‘sheeple.’ That line of discussion will not be pursued. 

Monday, November 2, 2020

An Election Day Prayer

God of Sovereignty, we believe there is no outcome we choose tomorrow that falls outside of your permissive will[1] (and perhaps your decretive will[2]). May this lead us to peace in the midst of an election storm. 

  

God of Freedom, we pray for the wisdom to follow the principles of your preceptive will[3] and vote such that we move our nation toward a land of spiritual, moral and relational plenty and not famine. 

 

God of Life, inspire all leaders we elect tomorrow at federal, state and local levels to value human life from the moment it begins until the moment it ends such that all people are given the opportunity for a flourishing life. May our leaders have the ability to “see” the unborn, the weak, the poor, the powerless, the oppressed, the overlooked, the overwhelmed, and the despairing, and may they have the wisdom to rally the nation to lift the imago dei who are floundering as a signpost that points toward the “life more abundant” that is offered in Christ (John 10:10). Position your church to be shining on the hill when that signpost points our way. (Matthew 5:14)

 

God of Love, inspire all of our leaders to guide us in attitude, action, word and deed to build communities grounded in the kind of love that echoes God’s love for the world: service, sacrifice, honor, commitment, generosity, humility, grace and truth that begins with “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40) and encompasses all. May we, your church, truly model what it means to love God and love our neighbor, and may that holy commitment be the conscience of the nation. 

 

God of Creation, guide our leaders to take care of your lovingly crafted creation that you declared to be ‘very good’, as so many ills in the world follow from soiling natural wealth you have given to us. Lead them to enact policies that steward your creation for our good and your glory. (Genesis 2:15)

 

God of Humanity, enable our leaders to recognize the imago dei, the image of God (Genesis 1:26), that which gives value, dignity and worth to every human being. Guide them to attitudes, words, and policies that show honor to your image wherever it is found, which is in everyone, with no exceptions. 

 

God of Justice, build those we elect such that the good, true, and noble in the world and in your Word seeps into their hearts and minds and compels them to seek justice. Your prophets remind us that God requires His people to do this (Micah 6:8); surely it is good advice for us all. When there are individuals or groups who have suffered from injustice, may our leaders work to right that which has been wrong, restore justice to those who have been wronged, and build systems that protect and promote the presence of justice in the world.

 

God of Mercy, your prophets remind us that mercy must come with justice (Micah 6:8), as the cross of Christ so prominently made clear (Psalm 85:10). May the hearts and minds of our those we elect lead them to the compassionate use of justice, seeking measures that stop both evil and the evildoer such that chaos of sin is minimized in the world, while moving us toward being a culture that values restoration and reconciliation whenever possible.

 

God of Peace, as we your people preach of the peace with God made possible to all through Christ (Romans 5:1), help our leaders to love all kinds of peace more than any kind of sword (Matthew 10:34), both literally and figuratively. 

 

God of Hope, inspire our leaders to enact policies that, while the church preaches Christ to make spiritually crooked paths straight (Luke 3:5-6), give hope to those who are hopeless, that give relief to those in oppression, that make a way for those who feel trapped. 

 

God of Grace, you have offered grace through Jesus in both this life and the next (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our political leaders cannot give an underserved mercy to souls, but they can give it in so many practical ways to the bodies of those who are lost, sick and dying. May it be another signpost. May we yet again be shiny,  illuminating the source of all grace.


God of Truth, inspire our leaders to love truth wherever they find it, and may that truth point them toward the One who is the Truth (John 14:6)



[1] God permits things to happen in a free world. 

[2] God decrees things to happen.

[3] Precept-ive, not perceptive. God reveals His will for the world through precepts, such as the 10 Commandments, or principles such as those found in the Sermon on the Mount.

Friday, October 9, 2020

A Memoir Wrapped in Quotes

I have been humbled by how many people graciously went out of their way to read, interview, and write reviews of a book I wrote in the aftermath of my father's death from cancer.  It was an attempt to take an honest look at grief, disillusionment, faith and hope. A review at CSI  offered some kind words:
In a grief memoir, I expected to find romantic poets, crusty theologians, and maybe a mega-church youth pastor or two. Instead, each chapter began with quotes from some of my favorite writers: Elie Weisel, J.R.R. Tolkein, Stephen R. Donaldson, Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, Dostoyevsky, Stephen King, and Voltaire. And the quotes were thought provoking and, above all, authentic, adjectives that also describe the memoir that comes wrapped in these quotes.  

If you are interested in the book, click on the picture in the right hand column of this blog to go to the website, or just go to amazon.com.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

"Vote Your Conscience." Well.....Maybe?

Honestly, I don't know what I think about this slogan. 

Joss Whedon once said, "Always be yourself. Unless you suck." He's not wrong. Well-intentioned comments can easily waver off course. "Always be yourself" seems like good advice, but do we really want the Jeffery Epsteins of the world clinging to that mantra? 

I feel the same way about "vote your conscience."  It's not that I want people to ignore their conscience. I believe God placed it in us for a reason, and we ignore the genuine nudges of that still, small voice at our peril. I just also believe that, in a fallen world, our conscience is fallen, and that still small voice might just be our own preferences - or might be cultural voices actively undermining the clarity our conscience is intended to bring.

So where, as a Christian, do I turn? I'm not going to reinvent the conscience wheel. For 2,000 years, the direction for Christians has come from the Bible. If I want to cut through the static, if I want to know if the nudge I feel inside is legit, that's where I go. I get it - not everyone reaches the same conclusions or arrives at the same applications on a lot of secondary issues, but there is always a foundational model that can be applied across times and cultures. 

When it comes to politics, there is no direct correlation between the United States and any nation from Bible times. However, God rolled out a vision for a just society through biblical revelation, starting with the Israelites in the Old Testament and moving into the church in the New Testament. As a Christian, I see a lot of issues to which the Bible speaks - issues which ought to guide my conscience and form my heart for the world. Justice is many splendored thing, and while some of issues will be more prominent in the minds of Christians than others - and should be - all of them are worth considering. Check out just a small sampling of verses. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

A Non-Partisan Ethical Framework For Christian Voting In 2020

So what’s a Christian to do when it comes time to vote?

We are citizens of Heaven first, but we are also American citizens who have been given the opportunity and perhaps even the mandate to be involved. The Bible uses imagery of salt and light to describe a Christian’s spiritual influence; it’s easy to see how this has a pragmatic aspect as well. It's just not easy to see what to do when, as voters, we are balancing flawed people, parties and platforms.

I wrote a series of posts during the last Presidential election that covered various ethical theories that can be applied as one prepares to vote. I hope the process of viewing people, parties and platforms through different ethical lenses will bring voting clarity. As a Christian, I build my ethical foundation on Divine Command and Natural Law theory, but it's not as if the others don't have something to offer (the importance of virtue; the weighing of both the means and the ends, etc). 

The following links all take you to posts that referred to Trump and Clinton in 2016; apply as needed in this year's elections.

  • Virtue or Vice? (Virtue ethics). Which candidate or party do you believe will be most likely to perform the right action, with the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, and in the right way?
  • Commands And Contracts (Deontological, or duty-based ethics). Which candidate or party most values the social contract (the laws of our society)? Which do you believe is genuinely attempting to protect the weak, disadvantaged, and marginalized in our midst? If you are a Christian, which is most committed to promoting God's design for human flourishing (love, justice, mercy, truth, etc.) and honoring God's commands for what a just society looks like?
  • The Greatest Good For The Greatest Number (Consequentialist or Utilitarian ethics). Which candidate or party do you believe has a better understanding of what constitutes the 'good'? Which is most likely to enact policies that will bring this good to the greatest number without trampling on the rights of the few? Which is most likely to defend those who are viewed as lacking utility?
  • The Categorical Imperatives (Kantian Ethics). Which candidate or party are you most confident will not try to universalize a principle that is destructive, but will instead live and govern within the constraints of the Golden Rule? Which values people for their humanity and not their utility, treating them as ends in themselves (with value, worth and dignity) rather than the means to accomplishing an end? Which is most consistent in establishing rules for others that they themselves follow?
  • The Overlap Of Natural Law And Societal Law (Natural Law ethics). Do the candidates and/or parties believe there are morally demanding Natural Laws at work in the world? If so, do they believe they come from Nature's God (objective, authoritative Law Giver), Nature itself, or from a social contract (common experience and rational consensus of the people)? Which candidate is most likely to promote legislation in which the Natural Law referenced in our founding documents overlaps with our ongoing implementation of human law?
  • Who Best Understands Your Rights? (Rights-based ethics). Do the candidates differ in their perspective on negative rights (what we can't do to others) vs. positive rights (what we must do for others)?  Which is more likely to limit their agenda to duties of non-interference, and which one is more likely to demand duties of assistance? Which supports the idea that rights are natural, universal, equal and inalienable vs. culturally constructed?

THE CONCERNS OF BIBLICAL ETHICS

As a Christian, I see a lot of issues to which the Bible speaks. Justice is many splendored thing, and while some of these issues will be more prominent in the minds of Christians, all of them are worth considering. This list could be much longer, but I am trying to limit myself to issues the Bible addresses as part of what will characterize nations that walk in the path of righteousness (that is, right living in line with God's design for the world).

So, which candidate (or party) is most likely to do the following things:
  • Protect innocent human life from conception until death. This involves everything from abortion, euthanasia, and war to immigrants/refugees fleeing violence and persecution. 
  • Protect all life from abuse. This involves fighting against unjustified violence and fighting for all innocent victims.
  • Honor all people as image bearers of God.  There is no room for leaders or parties who mock, debase, or refuse to stand for the honor, worth and dignity of fellow human beings. "In as much as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40)
  • Promote just policies that help those in dire economic situations. Here I am thinking of quality of life issues. Who are the most needy among us?  Are we as a society investing in and caring for them? Our policies should neither punish success nor overlook the needy; they should promote generosity and discourage greed. A just economic system does not guarantee equal outcome, but surely it strives for equality of opportunity. 
  • Steward creation well. This is, in particular, sound environmental policies. This command to Christians is as old as Genesis.
  • Create genuinely just systems of justice. We need a court system that is truly impartial and not effected by race, riches, or status. God cares about justice. So should we. 
  • Do justice and love mercy. A nation whose laws are not honored or enforced will descend into chaos; a nation whose laws are not honorable or ought not be enforced is no better.  How do we exercise compassionate justice well? 
  • Protect religious freedom. This is freedom to practice religion and worship - or not - without unjust discrimination or coercive social policy. 
  • Promote marriages and families in which children flourish. We as a society have a vested interest in raising children in stable, low-conflict families for the sake of the children first and the stability of society second. In addition, we should have policies and people in government that generously help those who, for whatever reasons, are not in this kind of situation. 
  • Model truth, grace, justice, mercy and integrity. 

The most exhaustive list I have found of side-by-side comparisons of presidential platforms (for Democrat Biden, Republican Trump, Libertarian Jorgensen and Green Party Hawkins)  is at procon.org, "Compare 2020 Presidential Candidate Positions." There is also an easy-to-take quiz that will show you how you are aligning with this year's candidates (at least those four).

Isidewith.com has an extensive quiz about a huge range of issues. It offers the choice wof nuanced answers that you can weight according to how important they are to you. The summary includes not only national and state candidates that align with how you answered, but an overview of where it places you in the political spectrum. 

There is no party or person that is going to offer us the opportunity to vote with no second thoughts. We weigh them in the balance and vote with the awareness that empires of the earth will never align smoothly with the Kingdom of God. Nevertheless, here we are, exiles in Babylon, and we seek the prosperity of the nation (Jeremiah 29:7). 

May we all have wisdom. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Why "Christians Arrested For Singing Hymns In Moscow, Idaho" Is Not An Accurate Headline

You’ve heard about the Christians arrested in Moscow, Idaho for singing hymns, right? Well... it turns out there is more to the story that is worth knowing. Most of my quotes and info are from a local paper, the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, from which a lot of national sources have pulled their material. Other sources will be noted throughout.  

This past Wednesday, 150 - 250 Christians from Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho showed up to sing at the Moscow City Hall parking lot. They’ve done this kind of thing before without any problems. “Ben Zornes, a Christ Church pastor and organizer of the event, said the church hosts psalm, or hymn, events about once a month at places like Friendship Square, East City Park or at a house.” You can find the history of these "flash choirs" easily on the church’s Facebook page. It seems like a pretty cool idea.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Protocols Of The Elders Of QAnon

As Solomon once noted, there is nothing new under the sun. QAnon is no exception. 

It turns there are a lot of parallels between the plot line of the Q narrative and the infamous Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion, the anti-semitic forgery that fueled the Holocaust. Perhaps it is no surprise, then, that anti-semitism - which at this point is largely on margins of the movement - is beginning to creep closer to the center of the storm. 


But you don’t have to take my word for it. I have the opinions of those who are deeply invested in this issue - namely, those who have been the targets of anti-semitism.


I spent some time this week looking up what Jewish people and Israeli news sources have to say about Q. It's one thing to read about Q from within the sphere of my comfortable life as reported on by people who are merely observers. I wanted to hear about from those who have a lot at stake in the discussion. The amount of links that follow may seem like overkill, but I want to stress that these were easy to find with a simple google search, and all but one come from a source in the nation of Israel, or feature interviews with people of Jewish ancestry.


If those who feel the full brunt of anti-semitic movements dismissed the concerns about anti-semitism in QAnon, I probably would too. 


They don't. 


I think I won't, either.

Barriers vs. Boundaries

We don't tend to like restraint here in the United States.   

"I did it my way" is our favorite anthem;  "Don't tread on me" our historical birthright. As Kacey Muscgraves sings so whimsically, "Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy." 

I get it. Who doesn't want to be free? There's a ton of upside. I don't think anyone disputes that. And yet none of us who live around even one other person are free in the most unfettered sense of the word, at least as the word is used when we talk about our rights. 

Rights coexist with responsibilities. My freedom to do or not do X means someone else has that same freedom to do or not do X, which means - if we are remotely morally consistent - we have responsibilities  of non-interference, at minimum. This means - if we want a remotely civilized society - we will live in the tension of freedom and restraint, of rights and responsibilities. 

My right to swing my fist ends at the space where your nose begins. Same with you. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

800,000 Missing Children? A Deep Dive Into The Numbers


Human trafficking is a blight on the world, with a reported 5 million adults and children around the world trafficked for sex each year – and that doesn’t include those trafficked for labor.  I find it encouraging that news outlets everywhere are covering this moral pandemic. (When I google “human trafficking United States," I get 108,000,000 hits. AP news is the top hit in my feed.) 

I decided to look more deeply at this issue after seeing numerous memes stating that 800,000 children go missing or disappear every year, and many then insinuating these children were trafficked.





This struck me as a) horrifying if it were true, and b) a really high number, since that would mean 1 out of 5 kids born each year in the United States eventually go missing/"disappear" and apparently end up in the sex trade. So, I took a dive into the numbers, because as stomach-churning as this topic is, I don't want to be blind to even the harsh realities of the world. 


The bad news is that the disappearance, sexual abuse, prostitution and trafficking of children are real and terrible things. The good news is that the situation, while devastating in terms of the depth of impact to every individual involved, does not have the breadth of impact so often portrayed. 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Justice

It's frustratingly tense for evangelical Christians to talk about justice issues.

The Social Gospel movement in the 1920s became mostly social with little gospel pretty quickly; Social Justice Warriors have turned the discussion of justice into a vehicle for Identity Politics and Marxist ideology. Perhaps it is understandable why, to many evangelicals, "social" and "justice" have become dog whistles signaling leftist, neo-marxist radicals to storm the doors of their local church.

There is a danger that we Christians will disengage from the cultural conversation about justice because the empire is redefining kingdom words, or because empire ideologies have coopted biblical principles.  Why do I call this a danger? Because we are at risk of giving up land God established for us to inhabit. After all, justice was a just God's idea. 

God rolled out a vision for a just society through biblical revelation, starting with the Israelites in the Old Testament and moving into the church in the New Testament. Being the people of God was not just a personal covenant; it was a corporate commitment. A just society reflects just people who image a just God. And the foundation built in the Old Testament era found eager builders in the New Testament to continue the work God started.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Living With Wisdom In A Time Of Fear

If you google “bible verses about fear,” you will find a lot. The Bible is full of admonitions to Christians not to give in to fear, but to be filled with the kind of peace and hope God gives. I think all Christians agree on this. This is pretty standard Biblical Principles 101.

But we’ve been tripping up over how to define unbiblical fear, and what it looks like, and what counts during this coronavirus storm. That’s what I want to address today. There can be a fine line between prudent wisdom that orders our life – which is good – and a stunting fear that controls our life – which is obviously not. There is also a fine line between graciously admonishing one another to live free of unbiblical fear and shaming one another for what we perceive as succumbing to it.

I get it – there is a HUGE range of opinion about which voices to listen to, what kind of protocols to observe (and which ones even work) and how to respond reasonably in a way that simultaneously balances the importance of personal health, constitutional freedom, and economic stability, let alone just how closely churches should follow state mandates or recommendations for services. 

Those are discussions for a different day. This is about our internal state, our attitudes, our mindset, no matter where we stand on these issues.

So, Christian friends, let’s chat. This is food for thought, and nothing more. I welcome thoughtful comments that further the discussion.

Monday, June 1, 2020

A Cold Case Detective Evaluates COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories

J. Warner Wallace is a cold case detective. He became a Christian when, as an atheist, he applied his cold case skills to the resurrection – and determined that Jesus really rose from the dead. He has since become a well-known Christian apologist. I highly recommend his book (and website) Cold Case Christianity. 

He recently sat in for Frank Turek on Turek’s podcast to discuss conspiracy theories, since he investigates criminal conspiracies all the time. Click on this link to listen to the entirety of  "PRINCIPLES TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN EVALUATING COVID-19 CONSPIRACY THEORIES."  This presentation is timely: not only have these theories permeated the discussion of the coronavirus, but as of several days ago lots of conspiracy theories are popping up in reference to the protests and riots.

I am condensing and paraphrasing his presentation and points. From this point on, everything is based on Wallace's presentation. A lot of it is directly quoted (thanks, google speech to text!); some is paraphrased/summarized. 

Friday, May 22, 2020

Why You Can Go To Walmart But Not Kohl's

I saw this meme posted yet again the other day, and I decided rather than just taking my blood pressure meds, I would work at offering responses with links to sources where possible. 

Some of the questions in this meme are valid; some are not. Some just didn't need to be asked in such a conspiratorial way, as the answers were easy to find.

Most of these have reasonable answers; some have reasonable answers that will probably change (especially as the scientific understanding of this virus grows and shifts).

So, here we go.
_____________________________________________________________________

#1. Why can you go to Walmart but not Kohl's? Because clothing retailers and department-store chains are “non-essential”.  See also #11. 

#2. Why the Dollar Store and not a mom-and-pop shop? Being essential vs. non-essential is not about size. Its about whats being sold. See #1 and #11. Stores are not closed simply because they are mom-and-pop stores. If there is any restriction because of store size, it will have to do with the ability to practice social distancing within the store. 

#3. Why can't you have an elective surgery, but you can have an abortion which is elective? Thats a really good question. 

#4. Why should you stay inside but yet heat and sunlight kill the virus? The advice is to stay at home for social distancing purposes, not to stay inside. In fact, the advice is to get outside while social distancing. Also, see #5 for more about sunlight.

#5. Why can't kids (who are not at risk) play on an outdoor playground, where sun kills this virus? Sunlight helps a little – in combination with heat and humidity, but its not that significant. It slows the virus, but doesnt wipe it out.  UV light needs to be much higher than what is in sunlight.  The kind of UV light used to kill viruses doesn't make it to the earth's surface. Worth noting: all climates are getting nailed by this. People are getting infected in sunny, hot places too.

As for kids playing on playgrounds, it's become clearer that the virus does not spread effectively on surfaces, so that does not seem to pose much risk at all. Breathing on each other: that's the issue - not for them, but for those to whom they could carry it. 

#6. Why don't people know that these are "recommendations" not laws because they have not gone through due process?  A recommendation is only that, of course, and I for one have never been confused. As for executive orders:

The authority for governors to issue executive orders is found in state constitutions and statutes as well as case law, or is implied by the powers assigned to state chief executives. Governors use executive orders—certain of which are subject to legislative review in some states—for a variety of purposes, among them to:
  • trigger emergency powers during natural disasters, energy crises, and other situations requiring immediate attention;
  • create advisory, coordinating, study, or investigative committees or commissions; and
  • address management and administrative issues such as regulatory reform, environmental impact, hiring freezes, discrimination, and intergovernmental coordination.

For state by state information on the power of governors to issue executive orders, see “Gubernatorial Executive Orders: Authorization, Provisions, Procedures” (Table 4.5, The Book of the States 2019, source: The Council of State Governments). https://www.nga.org/consulting-2/powers-and-authority/

#7. Why is it okay for government officials to get a haircut, but not common citizens?  Its not okay. I have not seen anyone defend that except the politicians who get caught. Duplicity in politics has been a thing for a loooooong time.   

#8. Why the fear, when this virus has a less than 1% death rate? I assume this is meant to be a comparison to the flu.

In Michigan, the last year we have official stats for the flu is 2017.  1,798 people died of the flu/pneumonia.  As of right now, over 5,000 have died of COVID-19 in Michigan in half the time with PPE and social distancing.  In New York, 4.500 died of the flu/pneumonia in 2017. As of right now, 28,800 have died of COVID-19. 

In 2017 in the US (last year with official stats), 55,000 people died of the flu/pneumonia from a full flu season with no PPE and social distancing (thats higher than the average yearly flu deaths in the US). We will pass 100,000 this week in half the time with PPE and social distancing. It's valid to ask when our reaction has been an overreaction, but it's clear this is more than the flu.

#9. Why have coroners questioned death certificates listed as CV-19? For the same reason coroners question other kinds of deaths: there are comorbidities or multiple reasons people might have died. People die of COVID-19 who also have other life-threatening illnesses, and its not always easy to tell if COVID or another illness killed them. Its not a conspiracy. Heres a coroner explaining the method.  The Philadelphia Inquirer explains why it can be tricky. 

#10. Why are areas like Chicago and NY gearing up for mass vaccination? Because hopefully there will come a day when mass vaccinations are available.

#11. What makes one person essential and another not? Thats a good question.  Categories will almost certainly be revised if these lockdowns become a "rolling" reality. Its not a label on someone's value as a human being, of course. It means that if they stop working, the businesses deemed essential cant run. I think the bigger question might be why are some businesses excluded from being deemed essential. Heres a thorough list of "essential." 

#12. Why are they dividing us? How are they dividing us, exactly? And who are they? Im assuming this is meant to implicate politicians and national news organization. If thats happening, I guess the answer will be the same as it has been since 1776: partisanship and power.

#13. How do people not know that we are a Republic, not a Democracy? Not sure what this has to do with the coronavirus. 

#14. Where has the flu gone? Its still here.

#15. Why do the homeless consistently demonstrate the lowest infection rates? They are outside.  It hits them hard if they are in shelters, which is why a lot of shelters have closed. 

#16. Why are they telling us to mask up after 2 months of lockdown? Because "they" are increasingly realizing the importance of stopping our breath from unknowingly spreading the virus. 

#17. Why is the CDC saying kids need to be masked when they return to school or attend church, when they know cloth masks restrict oxygen?  First, Ill fix the question: Why is the CDC recommending kids wear masks when they are in groups of people outside the home? Now the well isnt so poisoned. Simple: to stop them from spreading the virus with their breath. You might not think masks are effective, but that's the reason.

Dont wear the masks medical personnel wear (specifically n95), because these filter so thoroughly they can cause problems over long periods of time. Assuming kids have normal health and you give them a mask designed for them, their health will be fine. 

#18. What is this oppression and loss of liberty doing to the mental health of our kids...to us? Ill rephrase the question so it can more accurately raise an important point: :What is social isolation doing the mental health of all of us? Thats a good question.  This is a serious issue. You could also add what will happen if unemployment and poverty take a tremendous spike.

#19. Why have most other death rates dropped since the virus? I cant find info online that suggests this is true.  I cant even put in a link because I literally cant find an article talking about this. If you have some info, share a link. 

#20. Why did world leaders meet in China in October 2019? Google it. There were a bunch of meetings with a lot of world leaders throughout 2019 because China is a superpower. You can read about them online. There were also meeting here, and in other countries I think this is suggesting something nefarious, but I dont know what. If it has something to do with the lab in Wuhan, the lab has been going for a long time, and scientists all over the world go there to study coronaviruses. If thats a secret, its a poorly kept one. The Wuhan Institute of Virology was founded in 1956. 

#21. Why are the common people being controlled by the government and no one is controlling the government? The government has controlled people since it started. Thats what government does. The US was set up to balance powers and give people a voice. Those things are still in effect.  See lawsuits. Worth noting: a court in Michigan just ruled that Governor Whitmer's orders have been constitutional. We will see if this makes its way up the court ladder. 

#22. Why are hospitals paid more for Covid 19 deaths? I think they mean to add "than flu deaths." Because they cost a lot more to treat than the flu.  

#23. Why are some doctors speaking out and then getting silenced? It's either a) because "they" are conspiring against them or b) because they are wrong, perhaps even dangerously wrong. I'm not going to change your mind if you lean one way or the other.  Worth noting – they are not being silenced by the government, so... not Orwellian. 

#24. Why did Obama give the Wuhan lab $334 million dollars? The idea that there is something scandalous here is a misrepresentation at best.  Once again, go to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and check out their international partnerships page. Nations and leaders have funded and worked with them for years because the work that happens there is important. 

#25. What does a computer geek have to do with a pandemic and why does he want 7 billion corona virus vaccines? Because he runs the Gates Foundation, and vaccines are a huge thing for them, because vaccines save lives. Also, the Gates Foundation will not profit from a vaccine. 

Worth noting: Gates wants the world's population to go down. He is a fan of vaccines because when vaccines are introduced into countries where the child mortality rate is really high, parents gain confidence that their children will live, and they have smaller families. He does not promote vaccines to kill kids, like I have seen suggested in other memes. He promotes vaccines because the safety they bring lowers family size. I think his worry about population is misguided, but he is not trying to lower the population by killing kids through vaccination.

#26. Why did the CDC have a job posting for pandemic relief workers in November 2019? Because they hire workers for that reason all the time. 

#27. Why did Dr. Fauci say in 2017 that the Trump administration would be faced with a " SURPRISE PANDEMIC" and then runs the pandemic team? He said it at a conference about pandemics, which are often a surprise (not the conference, the pandemics). Many of other people were saying similar things at that time – I mean, a LOT of books and articles have been posted about this for years. They know what they are talking about.  And Fauci runs the team because he's been in the business for 30 years. 

#28. Why are they infringing on Christian and Jewish religious freedoms? They arent. 

#29. Why can people shop at Lowes or Home Depot, but we are not allowed to go into a church building? Because #science. They also arent allowed to eat at restaurants yet, or go to concerts or sports events, because the virus looooooves to spread in enclosed areas where people sit for a while. It has to do with air flow and how the virus builds up in your system.